Americans still disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy, but by a narrower margin. Now, 42% give him negative marks and 35% say he deserves a good grade, vs. 44%-31% in November.
Here’s the possible silver lining for the President: The American consumer is in solid shape, so the U.S. economy should get back on a roll. That’s particularly true if increased vaccination rates and boosters can help turn the corner on the pandemic. Full employment and healthy wage gains tend to be a tonic for presidential job approval ratings.
However, if continued Covid outbreaks get in the way of the jobs recovery, and if energy prices remain high, Biden and the Democratic Party could be in for a long slog on the opinion front.
The IBD/TIPP Financial Related Stress Index eased 2.2 points from November’s 19-month high to 65.1. Readings above 50 indicate rising stress. The financial stress index fell to a Covid-era low of 56.8 in early April, after most Americans received their third stimulus check.
Elevated stress partly reflects the expiration of pandemic-related jobless benefits, including an extra $300 in weekly support. The surge in inflation also has likely contributed to rising financial stress. The consumer price index rose 6.2% from a year ago in October, a three-decade high. The IBD/TIPP Poll finds that 84% of Americans are concerned about the path of inflation over the next 12 months.
Biden Approval Rating Among Investors
Biden’s job approval bounce was most evident among investors. Now 60% of investors give Biden positive marks, while 33% disapprove of his performance. That’s up from 49%-43% in November. IBD/TIPP counts as investors those respondents who say they have at least $10,000 in household-owned mutual funds or equities.
Yet Biden lost more ground among non-investors, as disapproval widened to 47%-35% from 47%-37%.
The higher marks from investors come as the broad stock market has hit some turbulence. After hitting news highs in mid-November, the S&P 500 has faced selling pressure since Thanksgiving, as investors brace for one of two divergent scenarios: another dangerous Covid wave or accelerated Federal Reserve tightening.
Still, through Friday’s close, the S&P 500 is up nearly 21% for the year. Make sure to read IBD’s daily The Big Picture column to stay on top of the prevailing market trend and what that means for investors.
The December IBD/TIPP Poll reflects online surveys of 1,301 adults from Dec. 1-4. The results come with a credibility interval of +/- 2.8 points.
Please follow Jed Graham on Twitter @IBD_JGraham for coverage of economic policy and financial markets.
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